Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Filtering by Category: "Review"

Day 353 - Body Beast Bulk Back Review


Quote of the day:
"If you care at all,you'll get some results.If you care enough, you'll get incredible results."
-Jim Rohn


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Day 323 - Body Beast Bulk: Legs Review


Quote of the day:

"Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor."
~Truman Capote


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Day 318 - Body Beast Bulk: Chest Review


Quote of the day:
"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out."
-Robert Collier

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Day 295 - Body Beast Build: Shoulders Complete Review


Quote of the day:
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit."
~Aristotle

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Day 284 - Body Beast Build: Back and Bis Review


Quote of the day:
"The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work."
-Mark Twain


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Day 279 - Beachbody Body Beast Build Legs Complete Review


Quote of the day:
"He who conquers others is strong. He who conquers himself is mighty."
~Lao Tzu

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Day 277 - Body Beast Build: Chest/Tris Complete Review


Welcome to Body Beast, Beachbody's hypertrophy, or mass-gaining program. The first workout in the standard schedule is Build: Chest/Tris

Initial Thoughts

My chest has always been a trouble spot for me for building mass, so I was excited to give this one a shot. Not only that, but if you are at all familiar with Beachbody's other workout programs like P90X, Insanity, P90X2, Asylum, etc., many of those programs mainly use pushups for chest exercises. This workout breaks that mold and uses dumbbells to Beast your chest up.

Equipment Needed

Dumbbells

Bench or Stability ball (I highly recommend getting yourself a bench)

I like having a towel nearby to dry off my hands when resistance training

Worksheets are very important in these workouts, as with any exercise program. With the Beast, you are really aiming to stick to very specific rep counts for a reason, so you will want to make sure you make intelligent weight selections.

Pros

This may be an introduction into old-school weightlifting for a lot of folks, which may be a great change of pace and a breath of fresh air.

The advantages to having these workouts on DVD, is that the pacing is set up for you. All of the breaks are timed for a specific reason to target a metabolic demand in your muscles and increase the likelihood of hypertrophy, or muscular growth.

The trainer Sagi can be pretty motivating at times, and the music is pretty awesome as well, if you are into "rock" music.

Cons

The warmup and cool down is VERY short and almost non-existent. For those of you coming off of P90X, P90X2, or Insanity need to remember that this is a bodybuilding program. The actions themselves are (for the most part) intended to warm the muscles and stretch them through their full range of motion.

Not only that, but nearly every exercise starts with a set of 15 reps. This is a great way to get blood flowing to the muscles and prepping them for the higher-weight sets.

Having said all of that, the cool down and stretch is not very good at all. I find not only the duration, but also the stretch selection to be very poor. I usually just perform stretches on my own based on my own knowledge.

Also, I can see Sagi and the cast being a bit 'much' for some of you out there. I don't mind their attitudes and nature, but I also don't mind Tony Horton either, and I know how much he gets on other people's nerves.

Difficulty

I will touch on this later in the review in the "Advice" section, but just let me say now that weight selection is absolutely VITAL to your success in this program. I believe your weight selection in this program is even more important to your success than something like P90X.

Having said that, once you reach a point where your weight choices are spot-on and you are hitting your 'max' on the last few reps of every set, this routine will have you whimpering by the end! The pacing, structure, and exercise selection is great in my opinion at hitting the chest and triceps hard!

The first few times I did this routine, I had to do some of the pushup sets on my knees. I can't remember the last time I was forced to doing pushups on my knees...

5/5

Workout Design

For those of you who are familiar with the P90X/P90X2 workout structure, you will enjoy the change of pace here. Rather than doing 20 straight sets of exercise, or 10 sets repeated, Body Beast uses what is known as "Dynamic Set Training". This workout uses a combination of Single Sets, Super Sets, and Giant Sets.

Single Sets are single exercises, completed with various repetition goals. For example, you will do a flat dumbbell chest press for 15 reps, a quick break, repeat with a goal of 12 repetitions, one more quick break, and then one more set with a goal of 8 repetitions.

Single sets tend to finish off with a "Drop Set", which is where you do 8 reps with one weight, then drop down in resistance by a bit, and do 8 more reps. A lot of these principles are not re-inventing the wheel by any means, but are using old school bodybuilding techniques.

Super Sets are two exercises done back-to-back, also in a progressive manner. So for example, you may do an incline chest fly for 15 reps, immediately followed by an incline chest press for 15 reps. A quick break, then repeat the 2 for 12 reps similar to what you see in a single set.

Giant sets are the same as Super Sets, but with 3 exercises back-to-back-to-back instead of 2.

The workout progresses through working the chest for the first half of the workout, followed by triceps work for the 2nd half. Warmup, cooldown, and a crushing workout to both your chest and triceps all, in under 50 mins!

4.5/5

Advice

Weight selection is absolutely the most important factor for the Body Beast program.

There is a very specific reason to the breakdown and structure of the workouts. By aiming for 15, 12, and 8 rep sets, with little break in between, you are not only trying to create a very specific demand within your muscles, but you are also maximizing your muscles' potential with less overall resistance needed.

On a good day, I can curl 45-50lbs for 8 reps, for example. In Body Beast, the bicep curl sets, I struggle to hit 8 reps with 35lbs!

Luckily, as I progress through the program, you all can follow my videos and progress and can use me to help you with the program as well.

Overall Score

A great start to Body Beast, and a great workout for your Chest and Triceps. A few minor problems here and there, including a poor cool-down and stretch, but overall a great workout that gets you in an old-school weightlifting sort of mood.

9.5/10
Quote of the day:
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit."
~ Aristotle
Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com





Day 128 - Vibram FiveFingers KSO Review


I purchased a pair of Vibram FiveFingers KSOs towards the beginning of 2012, but I wanted to take them for a full ride in a number of situations before I wrote my review...so here goes.

Barefoot Running

After competing in my very first Warrior Dash last year, I decided to finally pick up a pair of Vibrams. I have debated and researched the topic of barefoot running for a while now, but it was after competing in Warrior Dash, and my scheduled runnings of both Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder this year, that I decided to finally give barefoot running a shot.

I remember my running shoes getting absolutely caked in mud during some of the obstacles last year, causing my feet to feel like cinder blocks throughout. I felt a 'minimalist' approach may be the way to go!

Wearing my Vibrams over the past number of months, I have definitely turned a few heads from curious onlookers. One of the questions that I continue to hear time and time again is, "Do those shoes have a lot of padding in them?"

Simple answer, no. But that is the point.

Whether you believe in the barefoot running 'craze' or not, one thing is for certain. Human beings have been running in their bare feet (or thin soled shoes) for many, many, many years. Some may even argue that the human foot and surrounding anatomy is one of, if not the greatest architectural wonders of the human body.

The idea behind barefoot running is that it your body automatically corrects for bad habits that form from running in cushiony shoes. Many folks who run in traditional running shoes have a slew of injuries related to their running form, also known as their 'gait'. The theory, at least, is that many of these injuries are directly related to the shoes we are wearing that, ironically enough, are supposed to protect us from injury!

I am not trying to sell you on the idea of barefoot running, I have made my decision for myself, and you should too. I am not a biomechanics specialist, just someone who has taken an interest in this very topic so I think if you have an interest in this topic, then you should look into the subject some more yourself.

I will recommend a few resources, however. Firstly, there was a tremendous documentary on how running has been such a large part of human history on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation titled The Perfect Runner. I am sorry, but I think only those readers that reside in Canada can watch the program. Also, Born to Run is a great story of ultrarunners, which also touches on barefoot running.

Either way, this is a review on the Vibram FiveFingers, so let's get back to the topic at hand.

Uses

It is entirely possible that folks who decide to purchase minimalist shoes may never strap them on to go for a run. I have used my Vibrams for a number of things now, including going for hikes, going for walks, running, yoga, lower body resistance training, upper body resistance training, athletic training, etc.

The reason why I chose the KSO model was because of the versatility. I knew that on top of running, I would be using my Vibrams for a number of other things, like those listed above, so I felt that the KSOs would suit my needs best.

Pros

I personally found that one of the best aspects to buying Vibrams was the ability to wash them. I have now worn mine nearly every day since purchasing them for one reason or another, and they get dirty. So, rather than them staying dirty, I literally just throw them in the washing machine, let them air dry, and they are good as new in a few hours!

Another reason why I love my Vibrams so much is their versatility. I mentioned this above, but I literally use mine for nearly everything I do. Running, yoga, resistance training, walking on the beach, etc. Since I wear them for so many things, my feet have become stronger and stronger, so I have no fears wearing them while walking on all types of terrain.

I personally get pretty sweaty hands and feet when doing stretching/recovery workouts as well as yoga, so it is nice to have the Vibrams on to maintain good contact with the floor, maximizing the postures or stretches that I am in.

Lastly, and one pro that some may dispute, is that my feet have arguably become stronger from wearing this type of shoe. Rather than cramming my feet into an over-supported shoe, I walk, run, and play the way nature intended my feet to be, and I can do so with my Vibrams on with little fear that things like rocks or broken glass will injure my feet.

Cons

These have zero arch or foot support. There I said it. I know that is unusual for many people, and I have tried to address this issue in the paragraphs above, but I am sure some people will still scoff at the idea that they need foot support in their shoes in order to be comfortable. That is fine, so maybe these shoes are not for you.

Some folks may find these shoes, *ahem*, how should I say..."ugly". I personally find them to be very 'cool' looking and have absolutely zero fears wearing them in public, but I can see how some folks are turned off by them. That is fine, you may never wear these suckers in public, just use them in your home or when exercising, and nobody has to look at your gross feet.

There is definitely an adjustment period to wearing Vibrams. The adjustment period is shorter, the younger you are, as your feet will still be 'supple' and have many of its elastic properties you are born with. The beautiful part of the human foot, and surrounding structure, is the natural 'springiness' and shock absorbing properties involved. Most people, however, become too reliant on padded shoes and arch support, weakening their feet, and therefore making them shy away from minimalist shoes. I know, it is an ironic vicious cycle.

Overall Impressions

I really, really enjoy my Vibrams. As I said, I use them for nearly everything I do, especially when it comes to physical activity. I wear them until they stink and are covered in dirt, then I throw them in the washing machine and they come out looking (and smelling) like new.

I am very impressed with the overall quality of these shoes. I have worn them numerous times during various types of workouts. They have been used in my home gym, working on endurance, athleticism, and agility. They have been used on the roads and sidewalks around my home town. They have even been trudged through gravel, sand, mud, and water, yet they still look and feel brand new (after a wash of course!).

It took some time for me to build up some foot strength in order to run longer distances, but I have done well, and listened to my body and now have run as long as 16km 'barefoot'.

I guess the only unfortunate part about now owning my Vibrams and becoming accustomed to them is that I won't be able to use them as much once the snow flies!

Overall, I give the Vibram FiveFinger KSOs a 9/10!

Quote of the day:
“If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.”
- J.M. Power